"We have a system that looks at care in silos rather than a coherent system that is concerned about health from birth to death. This needs to change." — Larry Brown, NUPGE President
Ottawa (15 June 2020) — On June 15, every year the world recognizes the day as World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD). It is an official United Nations International Day acknowledging the significance of elder abuse as a public health and human rights issue.
Underfunding of elder care services puts people at great risk
In Canada, this pandemic has exposed the dirty secrets in the long-term care sector. The rapid speed at which COVID-19 spread through nursing homes across the country, and the lack of resources available to workers as they tried to stop it reveal a consistent lack of care for those who have given so much. Families who have been voicing concern over poor treatment and advocating for improved care have often been met with inaction and, at times, hostility."
The pandemic has also exposed the clear differences between private and public elder care. A majority of the deaths in long-term care homes have been in privately owned facilities. Reports coming out of those homes show intense neglect for residents — bed sores, malnutrition, and urinary tract infections. These are the repercussions of cutting corners on proper staffing, training, and supplies while focusing on increasing profits for shareholders.
"What has happened during this pandemic is the result of decades of government underfunding to a sector that cares for our elders, people with disabilities and some of the most vulnerable in our society," said Larry Brown, President of the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE). "It hasn't just been ong-term care that was underfunded, the same can be said for home care funding and administration. We have a system that looks at care in silos rather than a coherent system that is concerned about health from birth to death. This needs to change."
Recognizing elder abuse
"We have the opportunity to seize this moment to fix our broken system with care and support that includes dignity and respect," Brown said. "We hope that raising the awareness about elder abuse whether in the community or in our health care sector will encourage people to speak out more and work for change."
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 390,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. — NUPGE